Wednesday, 31 December 2014

End of 2014

So...back on the blog again.  I stopped blogging for a variety of reasons - I started to feel uncomfortable posting as I wasn't sure how anonymous it really was (not really very obvious as with a bit of digging I'm sure you could work out who I am), but mostly depression got in the way of doing anything more than the barest minimum.  In September, I completed my Coniston swim (wetsuit) and a 10 mile-most-of-the-length-of-Windermere swim, but the training for this combined with being depressed was exhausting so I just didn't get around to writing about it.  Despite the broken wrist I managed to total 1226.4k of swimming - not bad given that there were 5 enforced weeks on the sofa with a broken wrist!

As 2014 closes, I'm starting to feel a little better. A bit of a reduction in my working hours along with some new meds is really starting to help (or maybe that's just having 11 days off work :-).  So I thought I'd check in and do my traditional end of year meme.  I broke the link between this and previous blogs as part of trying to make it a bit more anonymous so you can't see previous years answers but never mind.

Anyway, I am hoping to do a 2 way Windermere swim in July 2015 and raise some more money for Mind (£2246 target to get me to £15k raised) and so maybe I'll blog along the way.  Although it may not be terribly interesting as I won't be doing that many events this year, just some solid training.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?
Get put under the CMHT and saw a psychiatrist.  Swam a length of Windermere.  Coached swimming.  More NHS appointments than ever before in my life.  Broke my wrist (in fact that was my first broken bone ever and my first ever visit to A+E, although I was there a second time before the year was up).

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I'm not sure I actually made any last year - I was quite depressed - this year the plans are:
1. A two way Winderemere swim
2. Plank a day in January
3. One sugar free day a week for at least 6 months
4. Raise £2246 for Mind
5. Engage with CBT and get discharged.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not quite so many people as in 2013.

 4. Did anyone close to you die?
My lovely godmother died suddenly in April.

5. What countries did you visit?
Spain (Tenerife).  Was supposed to visit Mallorca but couldn't go because of the broken wrist.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Better health and a bit more zen.  The same answer applies again this year! AND, again in 2013.  And a better mood.  AND again in 2014.

7. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
26th February - breaking my wrist :-/

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Training for and completing a one way Windermere swim, albeit wetsuited which wasn't the plan, in a far faster time than anticipated.

9. What was your biggest failure?
The things I missed out on because of my depression.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The broken wrist :(

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Not really sure but Malcolm the Bear and Snowdog the Hot Water Bottle cover joined our family of bears which was nice.  Oh and the limbo cover for my plaster cast which meant I could have a shower!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My GP's.  She was fantastic right the way through 2014, from getting me looked after by the CMHT, to getting the surgery to ring me at the end of the year to get me to make an appointment because she hadn't seen me for a couple of months (because the CMHT were doing a reasonable job of looking after me and finally I didn't seem to have any physical health issues!)

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
 Probably my own :(

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and food.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Not sure I got really, really excited about anything this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Paul Lovatt-Cooper's Immortal was something I listened to during some of the darkest bits of 2014.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
about the same
b) thinner or fatter?
about 1kg lighter
c) richer or poorer?
probably a bit richer in that a bit more of the mortgage is paid off.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Nothing really tbh.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Trailing around various NHS establishments.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my husband.  My parents on Christmas Eve, over to the inlaws on Christmas Day for a bit.  Home alone with myself on Boxing Day.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
Carried on being in love.

22. How many one-night stands?
Absolutely none.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
I didn't really find the time to watch TV this year :(

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
I read a bit more this year than I did last year, I found that reading on the Kindle was much easier and that enabled me to read a bit more. Kindle was necessary whilst in plaster as I couldn't hold a book!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Dan Forrest, after a singing day in late October.  Bit like John Rutter.  Here is his excellent arrangement of O Come All Ye Faithful.

27. What did you want and not get?
To the top of the waiting list for the CBT.  Spent the whole of 2014 on it :-o

28. What did you want and get?

Some support with my depression whilst waiting for the CBT (thanks to GP and G-the-care-coordinator)

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Paddington was great, and has given me a bit of a fixation with marmalade.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I was 30.  I was supposed to spend the week in Mallorca on a swimming camp but I came out of plaster for my broken wrist 2 days earlier (I negotiated with them to do it then as I didn't want to be in plaster on my birthday).  I was absolutely exhausted by that and by the depression.  We had a short swim in the morning, coffee at Starbucks and I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed feeling sorry for myself.    Oh well.  30 was always going to be tricky to come to terms with when life was a bit crap.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not being depressed!

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Increasingly flamboyant swimming cozzies.

33. What kept you sane? 
Swimming.  In August, the 3 hour long swims were really helpful - the first hour would be spent trying to deal with the negative voices in my head, but by the last hour I would achieve a little bit of peace.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The problems with funding for MH in the UK, especially the long waiting lists and lack of beds.

35. Whom did you miss?
As ever, missed my beautiful friend Emily.  But also my lovely godmother.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
Made a lot of excellent friends on twitter :-)

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
"Not to take good mental health for granted, nor to expect everyone to understand mental health issues.  You'd think I might have learnt these lessons previously, but it turns out that I hadn't.  Hopefully they will stay with me a bit longer this time."
- yet again, something I wrote last year is just as true this time around (sorry to the people who read this post at the end of 2012, should have suggested that you didn't need to bother!)

I like these words that I wrote in 2012 and 2013.  And they bear repeating.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I rather like this from The Cross by WWMT:
"You dream of tomorrow
And your life how it will be
When days fill with sorrow
How you'll fight to be free"

39. So in as few words as possible, how would you sum up your year?

Friday, 18 July 2014

Boscombe and Brownsea

Bit behind with the blog and haven't written a weekly update post for last week.  I suppose I'm keeping things ticking over and waiting to resume some long distance work ahead of the first weekend in September.  No point wearing myself too thin as I do want to do a fair amount of swimming in the first few weeks of August.  I've still got a bit of niggle in my upper right arm, down to the elbow and I haven't yet been able to get anyone to fix it - osteopath has been short of appointments and sports massage lady has been on hols.  Osteopath is booked for Thursday next week at least, and if the sports massage lady is available maybe I'll get one of those next week too.  Mood is pretty low so it's all a bit of a struggle at the moment.

Last weekend we went down to the south coast for two swims.  The first was at Boscombe on a beautifully hot day.  I really wasn't feeling in the mood but decided since we were there anyway (Mr Just Keep Swimming was also entered as he needs to practice his sea swimming ahead of Challenge Weymouth...) I would get in and swim.  I would not even attempt to race, but just get in and do some sea swimming practice, particularly ahead of the following day.  Although I swam in the sea in Tenerife, I don't think I have swum in the sea in the UK since 2012!  The conditions were somewhat deceptive, about 50m from shore where the first buoy was, was actually fairly rough, and we turned out to be fighting the tide as well.  I was pleased that I wasn't racing as I would have started to feel stressed about my slow time, and instead I tried to enjoy the different experience of swimming in the sea with the water moving my body about a lot more than in the lake, and of the sun on my back.  It was very warm in the water so I definitely didn't need a wetsuit.  Eventually got back in just under 58 minutes which is very very slow for a 2.5k swim.  Was pleased that hadn't decided to step up to the 3.8 or that would have been a personal worst!  We enjoyed sitting in the sun for a while and then went to the hotel before heading out to Pizza Express where I proved myself a proper marathon swimmer by having two main courses.  During the meal I got a message to say that I was actually second lady back in the swim and had won another t-shirt for the collection.

On Sunday, we were up at 6.30 to head over to Sandbanks for me to register for the Brownsea Island swim.  At 8am I was on the ferry and then sat on the island waiting for the start at 9.30.  It was a bit cloudier than Saturday but still very pleasant temperature.  I wanted to wuss out and wear my wetsuit but the wetsuit/non wetsuit waves were colour coded by hat colour so I would have looked a bit odd.  Had to woman up and get on with it, and actually it was mostly fine!  The first half of the swim was pretty choppy and I swallowed an enormous amount of sea water.  It seemed to take forever to get to the halfway point (there was also a half way only option) and I was getting pretty fed up.  Fortunately, Mr Just Keep Swimming was there at the half way point, and managed to follow the course for a bit, so seeing him carrying his flourescent yellow cycling jacket (which he always has handy to help me spot him without my glasses..) cheered me up a bit.  The conditions improved greatly as we turned around onto the other side of the island which was nice, and pretty soon I was round the final corner.  At this point you had to swim against the tide into the finish chute, which was a little entertaining, it was like trying to beat an endless pool to complete your swim!  In the end I was about 1h 53 minutes for the 6.5k which wasn't too bad given the first half - I was hoping for under 2 hours.  And the exertion of the last bit meant that I wasn't even cold when I got out!